Nigeria Needs Leaders Now, Not Rulers. By Iliyasu Gadu


Extraordinary times require extraordinary persons to take extraordinary measures.

If Nigeria is not in extraordinary times now, it is definitely heading for one. To draw an analogy of the present times in Nigeria, let us think of the fuel tank of a vehicle. In 2015, Nigeria as a vehicle tank was reading quarter to empty. Now under the administration of President Buhari we are running on reserve and desperately heading for empty tank.

With the remaining couple of years of the Buhari administration, the famed resilience that Nigeria is associated with will face its stiffest test. We are nearing the end of the long journey when a succession of rulers who have taken turns to ruin this country will destroy themselves by themselves.And this will come about more by their own lack of perspective on what to do with the power and influence that they wield. They will be so blinded by the power they think they possess that this will lead them to making the mistakes most rulers make; they will attempt to place their survival and those of their interests above those of the country. And that is when the roof will come down on them.

For the survival of Nigeria and its preservation into the future, we need leaders now who will take the country by the scruff of the neck and claw it out of the present quagmire its succession of ruinous rulers have brought it to.

One definition has a ruler as someone who generally exercises power as if they had no responsibility but to their own whims.  Leaders on the other hand strike a balance between their whims and those of the people they lead without which their leadership will be precarious to themselves and the people.

No prizes for guessing which type between the two have been directing the affairs of Nigeria over the years.

The key word that separates the two is responsibility. We do not need to be told how a good many of them get to power. We also do not have to be lectured on how they exercise that power once they get it. You will see them in convoys at break neck speed with sirens blaring scaring other road users and many times causing fatal road accidents. They won’t pay salaries and other due emoluments and if they did it will be at their whims. You will hear some among them say ‘’I don’t owe salaries’’, while others will have to be begged to pay and this they will even pay piecemeal of the months and sometimes years owed.

In all our rulers will celebrate with fanfare a borehole that was badly constructed and a block of classrooms that will not last to the next academic session having spent ten times above its real price. The whole essence of power and governance is about their own comfort and convenience and those of cronies and selected flunkeys.

And because our rulers got to power through manipulating the differences among the people they rule, they think little of alienating and excluding a segment of the people they consider as the ‘’others’’ . Over the years this pattern of leadership succession has becomeself-perpetuating among our rulers that we have formed some nice words like ‘’zoning’’, ‘’rotation’’ etc to cover its ugliness and provide it with a veneer of respect.

Our rulers in their blind quest for power have thrown self- restraint and the time honoured principle of enlightened self- interest to the extent that they are not just bent on destroying themselves but the nation as well.

In the twenty two years since we embarked on the democratic journey, they have managed to destroy the promise and hope which Nigerians collectively invested in it. The electoral process both within the parties and the general elections have become a matter of skulduggery and derring-do. Over the years the political parties have gradually degraded from the vehicles of mass mobilization and participation around ennobling national principles and ideas to mere political structures available exclusively to moneyed individuals. By 2023 the political parties would have been virtually destroyed.

In the present circumstances our rulers have come full circle in their journey to self-destruction in the run up to 2023 will see them engaging in a predatory smash and grab orgy of terminal political theatrics.

To save Nigeria from further ruination at the hands of our rulers, we need persons with leadership credentials and orientation. Per the above definition of leaders who will not only save the rulers from themselves but more importantly save the country from the path that the rulers are taking it to.

As a rescue mission, it really at this point matters not where they emerge from and how as long as they are Nigerians. The important thing is to restore hope to our beleaguered people and mobilise them towards the positive values of national integration and development. They must seek to painstakingly mend the broken bridges of national integration and cohesion made so by our ruinous rulers and even create new ones to further the course.

It is bound to be a tough, selfless and thankless task. It will be a herculean endeavour to try to turn around the mind set of mutual suspicion and acidic hatred of one another among the peoples of Nigeria planted over the years by the rulers of Nigeria in their quest for power and relevance.

In embarking on this undertaking our emergent leaders will no doubt come up against rear guard actions of our rulers in many ways.  They will also most significantly face the dubious, patronising attentions of international do-gooders in various ways. In short they will have their work cut out.

But that is the stuff leaders are made of and they should learn and imbibe the copious examples of how leaders emerged in other countries in circumstances similar to ours and turned the situation around for the better.

For this, they will not only save our country, they will deservedly earn a place in history for which generations of Nigerians will read and write about.











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